SULLIVANíS ISLAND ó A suit filed against Town Council asks a judge to rule on issues that could affect the size and design of a planned, new elementary school.
The old school has already been demolished and Council has renewed a long-term lease on the location with the Charleston County School District, which has set aside funds for the new school.
The complaint against the town, filed Friday in Charleston County Court of Common Pleas, lists as plaintiffs Martha Smith, Kathleen Post and William Post.
A petition bearing their names and the signatures of at least 15 percent of island registered voters argues that Town Council must adopt an ordinance to reconsider the current plan for the school or hold a referendum on the issue, the suit states.
The suit also argues for town Design Review Board approval of the new school and keeping it the same size as the old one. If neither of those provisions are met, any agreement Council has made with the school district must be revoked, according to the suit.
The new school as proposed is 74,000 square feet, twice the size of the old one.
In response to the suit, the town said in a press release on Monday that the plaintiffs have misconstrued state law regarding the issues raised. The petition process can not be used to require Council to break its new lease with the school board, the town said.
Six of seven Town Council members who support the new, larger school are confident that the law supports their actions and that a ruling will be issued in favor of the town, according to the statement.
Council attempted in February to resolve the matter in court but none of the people behind the petition would agree to represent the group in a way that would allow a suit to proceed, according to the town statement.
State law does not authorize the petition process in the way that some residents have used it in an attempt to dictate zoning and administrative matters or to force a local government to deviate from statewide standards for school facilities. Nor can it be used to insist that the Council breach a valid lease with the school board, the release states.
More than 400 students who attended Sullivanís Island Elementary School are now attending the old Mamie Whitesides Elementary School in Mount Pleasant.
Work on the new school does not have to stop while the suit is resolved, officials said.